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Palm Pre and webOS: lies, damn lies, and statistics

Chris Ziegler

The announcement of a wild, revolutionary new mobile platform with potentially far-reaching implications for the industry (and our hearts) is bound to generate some twisted buzz and some outright fallacies in this minefield we call the interwebs, so we wanted to circle back, catch our breath, and do our part to help dispel some of the myths that are cropping up around webOS and the Pre.

The Pre is not the only webOS-based device planned.
During the Pre's fanfare-packed intro, Palm CEO Ed Colligan mentioned that webOS would serve as Palm's platform "for the next decade." So unless the company plans to offer nothing but the Pre for the next 10 years (hint: they don't), there will be plenty of hardware variations from which to choose -- just like the Palm OS of old.

The Sprint version of the Pre is not a global phone.
Two versions of the Pre will be offered, a CDMA version that will launch in the US as a Sprint exclusive and a 3G GSM version that will launch internationally. The CDMA version doesn't have a secondary GSM radio for use outside the States, so you won't be able to roam on GSM networks around the world. Businesspeople, frequent flyers, beware!

webOS can't run legacy Palm OS applications.
Natively, webOS represents a complete clean break, both architecturally and philosophically, from the legacy Palm OS we're all too acquainted with. It's possible that Palm could offer a compatibility layer that allows Palm OS applications to run on webOS -- we haven't heard anything in that regard -- but they won't "just work" out of the box.

The Pre won't be the gaming platform the iPhone has become -- at least, not initially.
Because webOS is relying on web standards for its apps (sound familiar?), it'll be easy to code up simple games, but likely difficult or impossible to create complex, visually engaging, highly interactive ones. We wouldn't be surprised if Palm ultimately caved and provided a true machine-level SDK, but to start, this is all devs will have to work with. Unlike the early days of the iPhone, though, Palm is providing some libraries that will allow webOS apps to take advantage of gestures, accelerometers, and other features that typical hardware-agnostic web apps wouldn't be able to.

The Pre is not made by HTC (and we don't know who does).
Palm hasn't said who makes the Pre, but we've heard that it's not HTC. While Palm has worked with HTC in the past, they've also worked with Inventec -- and we're sure there are several others who'd love to have landed the contract.

It's pronounced "pree."
"Pray" and "pree-ay" have been offered as alternatives, so if you want to sound uninformed or pretentious, be our guest. Otherwise, stick with "pree" and you'll be solid.

You can have any color Pre you like, as long as it's black.
The shape and style of the Pre certainly seem to lend themselves to Palm offering a whole spectrum of colors, but out of the gate, the only Pre you'll be able to buy is black. Neither Palm nor Sprint have given any details on whether we'll eventually see others.

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